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Obama Says Wright "Doesn't Reflect My Values"


From CBS News' Maria Gavrilovic:

WILSON, N.C. -- Barack Obama continued to distance himself from Rev. Jeremiah Wright today, saying that Wright's recent appearances were not coordinated with his campaign and that they are not a reflection of his views. "He does not speak for me," Obama said. "He does not speak for the campaign, and so he may make statements in the future that don't reflect my values or concerns."

Wright has made three public appearances over the past four days, including one today at the National Press Club in Washington, where he said criticism over his remarks from the pulpit is an attack on all black churches. "This is not an attack on Jeremiah Wright," he said. "It has nothing to do with Senator Obama. It is an attack on the black church launched by people who know nothing about the African-American religious tradition."

While Obama argued that voters do not ask him often about Wright on the campaign trail, he acknowledged that there may be some concern. "What I think is interesting is nobody, none of the voters think to ask about it," Obama said. "Now there may be people who are troubled by it and are being polite and not asking about it, but that's not what I hear from the voters."

Obama suggested that some of his past relationships could be worrisome, but that those relationships are not a part of his overall message. "People will understand that I am not perfect, and that there are going to be folks in my past like Rev. Wright that may cause them some concern, but that ultimately, my 20 years of service and the values that I've written about and spoken about and promoted, are their values and what they're concerned about and that's what this campaign has been about and what its going to continue to be about."

Wright didn't seem concerned that Obama is trying to downplay their relationship. "Politicians say what they say and do what they do based on electability, based on sound bites, based on polls," Wright said. "Preachers say what they say because they're pastors, they have a different person to whom they're accountable. Whether he gets elected or not, I'm still going to have to be answerable to God November 5th."